Last updated April 18, 2018 at 9:19 am
The Check Up highlights some of the best, most fascinating, most important, or simply unmissable health, medical, and human stories from around the web.
New type of immune cell identified
B cells are a type of immune white blood cell that performs an interesting function in the body. The produce antibodies which are proteins that can detect foreign invaders. However, they’re also able to react against harmless things like peanut allergens or be self-reactive against oneself, like in the case of autoimmune diseases.
When B cells activate, they undergo mutation of their antibody genes to create an antibody response. Researchers have now found a way, in mice, to redeem these B cells to reprogram their self-reactive antibodies so that they stop binding to mouse tissue and instead bind to the foreign invaders. Talk about bringing the dark side over to the good side.
This could be the way to target infections which have previously evaded our typical immune response to invaders. Time to rewrite those immunology textbooks.
Single injection protects monkeys against HIV for 20 weeks
There’s no monkeying around for these researchers. They’ve developed a single injection that contains two specially modified antibodies that successfully protected monkeys against a monkey strain of HIV for a median time of 20 weeks!
With no cure or vaccine for HIV, this could be the first time in a long-lasting protection method against HIV in humans.
World Haemophilia Day
The annual World Haemophilia Day is on 17 April! It raises awareness of haemophilia and other inherited bleeding disorders.
Haemophilia is a disease where blood is not able to clot efficiently. There are currently more than 2,800 people with haemophilia in Australia.
Haemophilia is an inherited condition and occurs in families, however in 1/3 of cases it appears in families with no previous history of the disorder. The gene causing haemophilia is passed down from parent to child. Men with haemophilia will pass the gene on to their daughters but not their sons. Women who carry the gene can pass the gene on to their sons and daughters. Sons with the gene will have haemophilia. It occurs in 1 in 6,000 – 10,000 men internationally. Most women and girls who carry the gene do not have bleeding symptoms.
Virtual Humans wins SCINEMA Award for Technical Merit
Winners of the SCINEMA International Science Film Festival 2018 has been announced. Among the nine winning films is ‘Virtual Humans’, which explores a future where a complete copy of you can be created and used to monitor, study, and enhance your health. One of the jury members said, “This film is a technically stunning example of the power and versatility of supercomputers, helping us to see our body in ways we never have before.”
Don’t miss out on the SCINEMA national premiere screenings in May and June 2018.
Bowel cancer screening test
Australian TV presenter Anton Enus took a bowel cancer screening test that saved his life. He is a strong advocate for bowel cancer screening and is encouraging more Australians to do it. Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in Australia. Recently a survey was conducted that found 40% of survey respondents who received free bowel cancer screening kits in 2017 ignored it.
Make the time, it could save your life!